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Open source initiative to make affordable eco-housing widely accessible.
Open source initiative to make affordable eco-housing widely accessible.
1,902 backers pledged $115,860 to help bring this project to life.

Build Results of November 2016

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Dear Backers,

We are glad to announce that the November build was a success. The highlights are:

  • We built a 1400 square foot Seed Eco-Home in 5 days - at a materials cost of $30k. That makes it under 25 dollars per square foot - and a major accomplishment on the Extreme Build front. We now have a proof of concept that our modular building technique and swarm build process works at the scale of a full-sized, expandable seed home.

Here is the crew of over 60 people - and the product:

Participants on the last day of the Aquaponic Greenhouse Workshops - half of whom also participated in the Seed Eco-Home Build.
Participants on the last day of the Aquaponic Greenhouse Workshops - half of whom also participated in the Seed Eco-Home Build.
  • We built the Aquaponic Greenhouse in another 5 days - here filling the 3600 gallon pond -
Filling the 3600 pond with water after installing 2" of insulation and 2 layers of 10 mil poly pond liner.
Filling the 3600 pond with water after installing 2" of insulation and 2 layers of 10 mil poly pond liner.

We pressed stabilized CEBs and built a stabilized CEB floor in the utility room:

12x12 foot utility room with a stabilized CEB floor.
12x12 foot utility room with a stabilized CEB floor.

We installed 3kW of PV panels, here showing 9 of the 12 panels in process:

PV panels during installation on a modular rack system.
PV panels during installation on a modular rack system.

We built all the greenhouse planting towers:

10 foot planting towers for growing vertically in the greenhouse.
10 foot planting towers for growing vertically in the greenhouse.

Feedwater clogs from fish water to the towers are a major issue, so we plan to address this with high pressure and watering only a few towers at a time using an automated controller

We put in hydronic heating in the floor and build one wall section, 8'x8', 1 foot thick - with unstabilized CEBs. 

A total of 1200 feet of 1/2" hydronic tubing was installed in the floor, here about half way done.
A total of 1200 feet of 1/2" hydronic tubing was installed in the floor, here about half way done.

We also built a prototype of the open source thermoelectric generator, ready for testing as we install it ahead of the hydronic control panel on the stove.

We build a pellet burner for the stove, and started on the stove with heat exchanger.

Tom Griffing drilling holes in the pellet burner fire chamber.
Tom Griffing drilling holes in the pellet burner fire chamber.

We built the super-fridge controller - converting a freezer to a refrigerator that uses 8W of power on average.

Super-efficient refrigerator controller based on https://mtbest.net/chest_fridge.html uses 8W on average.
Super-efficient refrigerator controller based on https://mtbest.net/chest_fridge.html uses 8W on average.

We still need to finish the utilities and plant up the greenhouse - with an intent of publishing the first version of the OBI Building Book by mid-January. By that time, we aim to finish the kitchen, bathroom, stove, TEG, PV control panel, biodigester, and water collection/purification system.

Our milestone for the next build - coming next year - is to perfect this build by attaining completion of all the systems during the workshop. We did not finish all the systems this time. At the same time, we think that we can increase the amount of discussion and design-learning time significantly - as we were not fully prepared for this ambitious build and were not as organized as we would like to have been.

Our second milestone for the next build is to increase the amount of CEBs that we will use. The soil-cement mixer worked - but only to make enough materials to produce 10 bricks at one time before the mixer tends to bog down.

Soil mixer was loaded with buckets, and then hoisted up to empty its contents after mixing was done. The tractor provided hydraulic power to the mixer.
Soil mixer was loaded with buckets, and then hoisted up to empty its contents after mixing was done. The tractor provided hydraulic power to the mixer.

While we have already produced tens of thousands of un-stabilized CEBs though the years, this was the first time we pressed stabilized block in quantity. We will improve on this and mount the mixer on the tractor loader next time so we can increase production from the 300 stabilized bricks that we pressed this time around - to at least 2000 per day.

If we perfect this Seed Eco-Home and Aquaponic Greenhouse build next year - we will be on schedule to deliver a solid product that we could begin building in other locations. Perfecting the build means primarily streamlining the workflows to enable build completion. The key is excellent documentation. We would would also like to improve on the foundation, and are considering a rubble trench foundation instead of an 18" tall stem wall (12" wide). The latter was way too much concrete and work.

All in all, a spectacular event, worthy of making a documentary on it. Here's a trailer. 

And you can see tons of vidoes and pictures on the OSE Workshops Facebook Group.

We have also captured start-to-finish time lapse of the build - so we'll publish this as we produce the full build documentation.

And if you'd like to hear a little bit of live discussion assessing some of the build - you can see us on FB Live:

(click on image to go to video)
(click on image to go to video)

 And comments from other collaborators/builders:

 

Also, note that this week marks the first of our series of webinars, starting with the Living Building Challenge house webinar. The updated Webinar schedule schedule for 2016-17 will be:

  • Dec. 2, 2016 - Living Home 
  • Dec. 9 - Aquaponic Greenhouse: Design and Operation 
  • Jan 20, 2017 -  Seed Eco-Home: Off-Grid Utility Systems 
  • Jan. 27, 2017 - House Design Crash Course 
  • Feb 3 - Using the OBI Module System to Design Buildable Structures 
  • Feb 10 - Navigating Code Compliance for Eco-Housing 
  • Feb 17 - Open Source Machines for House Building 
  • Feb 24 - Landscape Design: Integrating the Seed Home in a Regenerative Environment 
  • March 3 - Applications of 3D Printing in Construction 
  • March 10 - Seed Eco-Home and Aquaponic Greenhouse Automation
  • March 17 - Open Source Architecture Tools: FreeCAD, BIM, Blender, WebGL, and SweetHome 3D 
  • March 24 - Collaborative Literacy 101: How to Work Effectively in an Open Source Hardware Movement

And we will post a few more webinars for the end of 2017.

Thanks,

Marcin and Catarina

Michael C. Stewart, Eric, and 20 more people like this update.

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